Newly-formed clean energy investor Armstrong Asset Management is nearing a $66 million first close for a fund to invest in small-scale renewable energy and ‘resource efficiency’ projects in South-east Asia.The Singapore-based company – run by Andrew Affleck, former CEO of UK-based Low Carbon Investors – is aiming for a $150 million final close for its 10-year Armstrong South East Asia Clean Energy Fund. It will invest in projects in Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia, and other South-east Asian emerging markets. It is targeting internal rates of return of 20%.The fund has attracted undisclosed commitments from DEG, part of German development bank KfW, and GEEREF, a fund-of-funds advised by the European Investment Bank, and the European Investment Fund.
It has also raised money from an unidentified South-east Asian conglomerate.“While both China and India tend to get more attention, for Armstrong, we’ve found that focusing on South-east Asia has been a strong draw for our investors,” said Affleck. “It helps that new regulatory policies are being enacted by governments in the region which encourage the development of the renewable energy sector.”“Our focus is on small-scale projects which provide some real advantages well-suited for South-east Asia. It’s an investment strategy that we have employed in Europe previously and we are now adapting it for this region where opportunities are much greater,” he added.The company is marketing the fund to development banks, European pension funds and a small number of Asian corporate investors, investment manager Sabine Chalopin told Environmental Finance, with a view to reaching a final close within the next 12 months.Prior to launching Armstrong in 2011, Affleck spent four years as CEO of Low Carbon Investors Ltd, growing the business from a $50 million single fund clean-tech venture business to a multi-fund clean energy infrastructure asset manager, with more than $300 million under management.